Friday Clutter: Coronavirus, Biden's Judges, Santander Bank, Ben Roethlisberger, Doctor Who, Hawkeye, This is Us, Foo Fighters, Europe, and more
Welcome back for the final time in 2021! We're so glad you made it! What's the plan for tonight? Regardless of the pandemic, our crew didn't need to be told to stay home. I'm going to run a couple of errands, grab some snacks at the grocery store, and then we're going to settle in for some Doctor Who and Twilight Zone marathons, along with whatever else we find on TV. Current over/under on the bedtime is 10:30, but who knows, maybe we'll make it to midnight if we get a nap in this afternoon.
Also, not sure about this weekend's schedule at the moment, so if we don't see you on Sunday, we'll definitely be back on Monday. Now, let's do this one more time this year - BDH and Little Buddha just made coffee, so grab yourself a nice medium DD, because it's time to clear out some Friday Clutter.
Experts are warning that January is shaping up to be a terrible month on the pandemic front, as the Omicron variant continues to spread like wildfire across the United States. The country continues to set new daily records with a current seven-day average of 290,000 new cases per day. The hope is that things will improve by the end of the month, with increased testing and medications, but please do whatever you can to protect yourselves. Try to keep your gatherings small tonight, and please get your shots and boosters if you haven't already. The data clearly proves that's the best way to stay out of the hospital. We want you all back here in one piece in 2022.
This gloomy forecast means it's all the better that the FDA will reportedly soon approve the Pfizer booster for kids age 12 to 15 years old.
The CDC is warning people not to go on cruise ships, regardless of your vaccination status, due to the widespread coronavirus outbreaks hitting the industry right now. We'd add that these ships are petri dishes on their best day, so maybe just avoid them permanently and find a vacation destination that isn't as likely to wreck your stomach.
It should not be overlooked that the Biden administration had a terrific first year when it comes to nominating federal judges. The 40 Biden choices that were confirmed in 2021 were the most for the first year of a presidential term since Ronald Reagan. His selections are a diverse mix of genders, races, and professional backgrounds, and that legacy will be felt for years to come. However, it probably gets more difficult from here. Republicans will block any candidates they can, and they've made it clear that they intend to steal another Supreme Court seat if they get the chance. This will be a huge test of Biden's claim to to be able to work with the GOP, especially if they regain control of the Senate after the 2022 midterm elections.
President Biden is making an impact on the federal courts. (pic via bbc.com)
Ghislaine Maxwell's conviction on sex trafficking charges is bad news for Prince Andrew, who is accused of sexual abuse by one of Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein's underage victims. Andrew must be held accountable for his actions, and so must every other man who committed these vial actions.
Santander Bank mistakenly deposited $176 million across 75,000 transactions on Christmas Day because of what is being described as "a scheduling issue." Deposits from some 2,000 business accounts were deposited twice, and now the bank has to reclaim the money. So many people must have thought they were getting a surprise Christmas bonus. It's not clear how difficult it is for Santander to fix its mistake, but this incident is sure to leave some ill will towards the bank.
Pretty much everyone on Wall Street is on vacation today as a crazy year for the stock market comes to a close. The S&P 500 will finish up about 27% for the year, which is tremendous, since the Clutter investment team's annual target is a 10% rise. However, the team continues to believe that stocks are drastically overpriced, and that a pullback of at least 10% is overdue. Will that correction happen in 2022? The team has no idea, they're not big on predictions. What they do know is that their portfolio is solid from a long-term perspective, and they feel prepared for whatever the new year has to offer.
Congratulations to New England Patriots great Richard Seymour on being named one of the 15 finalists for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2022. It's the fourth straight year Seymour has made it this far in the process. He was one of the most dominant defensive players to ever wear a Patriots uniform, and he deserves induction into Canton. The class members will be announced in January.
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger says Monday night's game against the Cleveland Browns is "likely" his last home game. Maybe the Pittsburgh Steelers will find a replacement who doesn't have multiple sexual assault allegations against him. Of course, NFL teams don't really care about that, as long as you can throw the football to the right place at the right time.
We will start 2022 on a good note with the arrival of the Doctor Who New Year's Day Special. The Doctor, Yaz, and Dan, appear to be stuck in a time loop that keeps ending with them being killed by Daleks. Groundhog Day meets Doctor Who? Yeah, we're here for that. We're just still wondering if this episode will build off of Series 13 at all, or if it's a self-contained story. Jodie Whittaker only has three episodes left, so here's hoping it's the former. Guess we'll find out tomorrow!
Den of Geek points out what they see as a "missed opportunity" with Hawkeye. Our sense, from a fairly-informed MCU perspective, is that they're right. However, there will always be things that aren't given enough attention when your series is only six episodes long. (See: Doctor Who: Flux) The door was clearly left open for future stories on this front, so we'll see if Marvel and Disney+ decide to revisit it down the road. Limitations aside, we still enjoyed the hell out of the series and recommend it, even if you're a casual MCU fan at best.
J.K. Rowling reportedly appears in the upcoming HBO Max Harry Potter reunion special, but it's all old footage. It's not clear who made the decision for her not to be in a new interview. However, given the author's rampant transphobia, it's easy to see why the show's producers wouldn't want her distracting from the story.
There's a new promo clip for the final season of This is Us, which begins on January 4. We know a lot of people who are going to be sad to see this show go. Hopefully they've already stocked up on tissues:
The Foo Fighters posted the complete footage of their June 21, 2021 concert at Madison Square Garden on YouTube. It was the arena's first full-capacity show since the start of the pandemic. We watched the opening, and the emotion from both the band and audience was tremendous. Not entirely sure how long this video is going to be available, so check it out soon:
David Lee Roth's first two "retirement" shows in Las Vegas have been cancelled because of coronavirus issues. However, the rest of the dates through late January are still on at the moment. Gotta wonder what the ticket sales have been like for these concerts.
On the flip side, it appears Katy Perry's Las Vegas run is still a go.
Okay kids, that's a wrap. Make some noise aw we have Europe close things out with, "The Final Countdown" for today's, "Song of the Day."
Thank you all so much for hanging out with us again this year. It's always a treat, and we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Enjoy the rest of your day, be safe tonight, and we'll catch you all again for more politics, sports, a healthy dose of randomness, and coffee in 2022. Until next time, that's today's Clearing out the Clutter, and we are outta here.